To find the best Apple Watch, we took an in-depth look at the available options, selecting which smartwatches would pair best with your iPhone based on a few factors, including the display, build materials, integrated health features, and built-in sensors. Depending on your desires, some Apple Watches provide functions such as Always-On displays so you can glance at your wrist without delay, and fall detection to assist you in the case of an emergency. Whichever features you have your eye on, we’ll pair you to the best Apple Watch for you.
In our research and testing, we awarded the Apple Watch Series 5 as our top pick. Featuring advanced features, such as built-in heart rate notifications and an ECG app, Series 5 can help you keep track of your heart health. Apple Watch 5 is also the only Apple smartwatch to offer an always-on display, so you don’t need to waste time waking your watch before you can check the time or your latest notifications. If you are searching for the best Apple Watch, keep on reading to learn more.
Top 4 Best Apple Watch
#1 Apple Watch Series 5
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Apple Watch Series 5 is the latest smartwatch from Apple, sporting features such as a larger always-on display for quickly viewing information, and a built-in ECG app for checking your heart health.
Read Full Review: APPLE WATCH SERIES 5 NIKE EDITION
- Always-on display
- Built-in GPS & compass
- Advanced health features
- Most expensive option
It should be no surprise that Apple’s latest Watch makes it to the top of our list. The Apple Watch Series 5 boasts more features than any of its predecessors, including a faster processor so that you don’t need to wait around while features load. A new larger always-on retina display ensures that you don’t need to wait around before your Watch shows the time or notifications – it’s always available at a glance.This Apple Watch Series 5 also has new integrated health features, such as an ECG app and fall detection, that can help you keep your eye on heart health or call for SOS in the event of an emergency, respectively.
Other unique features on the Series 5 include an integrated GPS & compass combo that make it even more helpful on your next hike. We do wish that the latest Apple Watch was a bit cheaper as the low price tag can make it a bit difficult for some. Additionally, if you select a higher grade material other than Aluminum, such as Stainless Steel, expect to pay quite a bit more.
#2 Apple Watch Series 3
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Apple Watch Series 3 provides all of the best things about Apple Watch including a built-in heart rate sensor, water-resistance down to 50-meters, and access to all the best Apple Watch apps.
- Water-resistant down to 50-meters
- Bright high-resolution display
- Integrated SOS features
- Lacks fall detection
- No ECG heart app
There is a reason that Apple still proudly sells the Apple Watch Series 3; it’s an excellent product that still brings the best of Apple Watch to your wrist. Featuring a high-resolution Retina display that shines at 1000-nits, you’ll be able to see your Watch face even in the brightest sunlight. If you decide to take a dive, the Series 3 also sports Water-resistance down to an impressive 50-meters. While the Apple Watch Series 3 doesn’t feature fall detection, it can still contact local emergency services with the hold-down of a single button.
Other features that you won’t find on the Series 3, but can be found on the Series 5, include international emergency calling, a built-in GPS, and an ECG heart health app. However, if you can live without the features mentioned previously, the Apple Watch Series 3 continues to be one of the best smartwatches on the market. Note: Although it is no longer available from Apple, the Apple Watch Series 4 had larger displays, more advanced sensors, and a faster CPU than its predecessor the Apple Watch Series 3.
#3 Apple Watch Series 2
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Award: BEST BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re new to Apple Watch or are on a tight budget, the Apple Watch Series 2 presents itself as a great option to jump into the world of smartwatches thanks to Apple’s built-in Health App and stellar choice of design materials.
- Heart-rate detection
- Apple Pay compatible
- Easy to set up with iPhone
- Slower processor
- Lacks advanced health features
Apple Watch Series 2 is one of Apple’s older smartwatch models, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth taking a look at these days. Series 2 has a lot in common with the previously mentioned Series 3 watch, which we awarded as our Honorable Mention. Features that other Apple Watches sport, such as built-in health tracking, heart-rate detection, and even the ability to pay wirelessly with Apple Pay at merchants, are found here. It’s also just as easy to set up with your iPhone as any of the newer models.
The primary setback to an Apple Watch Series 2 over a Series 3 is the slower process – the Series 3 receiver a newer 70%-faster processor. So know that you might be waiting a bit more time for this watch to load, but it still might be very much worth the price. Be sure, however, that you aren’t counting on some of the more advanced health features such as ongoing heart-rate monitoring and ECG scans, as neither are available here.
#4 Apple Watch Edition
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: Apple Watch Editions sports the same features as Apple’s latest Series 5 Watch but opts to use higher-quality materials for its exterior shell, including silver or dark-gray titanium and smooth white ceramic.
- Features either titanium or ceramic
- Includes higher-end Watchband
- Same internal features as Series 5
- Expensive price for a visual upgrade
If you’re looking for the best that Apple has to offer with Apple Watch, look no further than the Apple Watch Edition. Featuring the same internals as the latest Series 5, the Watch Edition takes it a step further with premium materials. While most smartwatches reach their peak with stainless steel, Apple has pushed forward, offering watches crafted from either titanium or ceramic. Titanium is lighter than stainless steel, yet features twice the straight, making it an ideal material option available in either a silver or space black finish. Ceramic, on the other hand, is four times as hard as stainless steel and features a look that is hard to ignore.
Apple Watch Edition also comes paired with a higher quality watchband automatically so that you can choose from either a modest sport loop or a classier leather loop, both in a multitude of colors. We wish the Watch Edition wasn’t such an expensive upgrade, but then again, once you put one on, the price-tag seems to vanish away.
How We Decided
Apple has quite a few of its Watches available for sale, so we took the time to look at the differences and similarities, delivering to you the best option. For each Watch, we took a look at the features that matter most, including the displays, build materials, health features, and built-in sensors. For each feature category, we set a minimum standard so that no matter which Watch you select, we know that you’ll have a fantastic experience once you get it on your wrist and connected to your iPhone.
For the displays, we made sure that all Apple Watches we selected included the company’s Retina display technology for the sharpest and brightest image. At the same time, other smartwatches can be challenging to read in the sun due to their lack of brightness; Apple brings forth a product that is readable even at the beach at midday. Moving past the display, Apple’s watches are built from aluminum; we wouldn’t accept any subpar materials on our list. We did, however, include Apple’s titanium and ceramic for ultra-premium options.
Inside the Watch, we wanted to ensure that no matter which selection you made, you could always count on it for tracking your day-to-day health. All versions of the Apple Watch we selected offer a built-in GPS for tracking your runs, as well as water-resistance down to 50-meters so that you can take it on swims. Beyond the GPS sensor we mentioned, we also made sure the basics were on board, such as a heart sensor, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.
Best Apple Watch Buyer’s Guide
- Display: The Apple Watch display is the heart of your experience; it is the piece of the device you will be viewing most frequently. Be sure to select an Apple Watch that sports Apple’s 1000-nit Retina display for easy viewing – this includes Series 2 and forward. If you want a display that is always available, the Series 5 offers an impressive Always-On Retina display for quick viewing of notifications or the time.
- Build Materials: All Apple Watches are made from quality materials, such as aluminum, giving you a watch that is lightweight, yet durable. Apple does offer superior materials, though, including stainless steel, titanium, and ceramic. While other options add a bit of flair, they do so at a price increase, without any added features. Aluminum is perfect for most people, but if you’re feeling fancy, feel free to upgrade.
- Health Features: The Apple Watches we selected all include essential health functions, such as the ability to track your runs or measure your heart rate. If you want something that keeps an eye on your heart all day, consider at least the Series 3. On the other hand, if ECG readings or the ability to detect if you have fallen are vital, the Series 5 is your prime option.
- Senors: One of the major components that differentiate Apple Watches from one another are the sensors installed within. All Watches we mentioned include a heart rate sensor and built-in GPS. If you are seeking the latest sensors that enable features such as fall detection, compass directions, or current altimeter, Series 5 is your primary choice.
Apple Watch FAQs
What is the best Apple Watch?
In our research, we found the best Apple Watch to be the Series 5. The latest smartwatch from Apple, its sports features such as a larger always-on display for quickly viewing of texts and notifications, and a built-in ECG app for checking your heart health. Fallen detection is also built-in if you were ever to take a tumble and need emergency assistance.
Is Apple Watch worth buying?
Only you will know if Apple Watch is worth it. Those getting the most out of Apple Watch will likely take advantage of the Watch’s built-in health functions. However, if you also want to be able to view notifications or respond quickly to calls and texts, Apple Watch is the best option available at this time.
What is the difference between Apple Watch 3 and 4?
In between Apple Watch Series 3 and 4, Apple went through a redesign of the Watch. Thus, Apple Watch 4 includes a 30% larger display, a new S4 dual-core processor, an electrical heart rate sensor for taking ECG readings, a 50% louder speaker, and emergency fall detection.
Is Apple Watch 5 waterproof?
Apple Watch Series 5 is water-resistant and can be taken down to 50-meters. Technically, no device is completely waterproof, but you may hear people refer to the Series 5 as waterproof due to its diving ability.
Should I upgrade to Apple Watch 5?
It depends on which Apple Watch you own currently, and whether you would benefit from the new features. We recommend taking a deep dive into our guide above for more information to see if the more modern features would be worth it. Key features of the Apple Watch Series 5 include a new Always-On Retina display, international emergency calling, and a built-in compass & altimeter.
What are the best Apple Watch bands?
The best Apple Watch band for you will depend on your personal taste; however, some bands do handle better during certain activities than others. If you will be using your Watch while exercising or swimming, select one of the Apple Sport or Apple Sport Loop bands. It is important to note that while Apple Watch is water-resistant, none of the leather bands should be submerged in water.
What are the best Apple Watch faces?
Apple provides a large collection of watch faces that you can select from to personalize your watch. For those with fitness in mind, we recommend the Activity Analog or Activity Digital faces as they allow you to keep a close eye on your activity rings throughout the day. Beyond those, the Watch faces are up to you completely based on your personal taste and style!
Latest Apple Watch Reviews & Buyer Guides
The Apple Watch is a popular wearable from the company that is known for the best Apple laptops, and users love it. Our best electronics section has even more Apple products like the best iPhone and products from other brands.
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